Tus­sling with tut­san, the new gorse

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - WAIKATO WEEDWATCH

Tut­san is a ma­jor pest plant with po­ten­tial to be the ‘‘new gorse’’ in the Waikato.

It is spread­ing rapidly through­out the re­gion.

Un­der new rules in Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil’s pest man­age­ment plan, landown­ers are re­quired to con­trol it wher­ever it oc­curs on their prop­erty.

Tut­san, which orig­i­nated in south­ern and western Europe, is re­lated to or­na­men­tal hy­per­icums (St John’s wort) and looks very sim­i­lar.

It forms a semi-woody, 1.5 me­tre tall shrub with red­dish stems and small, pleas­antsmelling, oval leaves that of­ten turn red in au­tumn.

Clus­ters of small, bright yel­low, five-petalled flow­ers with prom­i­nent sta­mens ap­pear from Novem­ber to Fe­bru­ary.

Th­ese are fol­lowed by fleshy, round, red berries, which ripen to black and dis­in­te­grate, spread­ing large amounts of long-lived, dust­like seed far and wide.

You will find tut­san grow­ing along road­sides and wa­ter­ways.

The plant also loves to grow on scrub­land and farm­land.

It is dif­fi­cult to con­trol once es­tab­lished.

A great sur­vivor, this tough plant is tol­er­ant of shade and all tem­per­a­tures, poor soils and phys­i­cal dam­age.

That dust-like seed is widely dis­persed into nat­u­ral areas by wind, birds and agri­cul­tural

PHO­TOS: WAIKATO RE­GIONAL COUN­CIL

Tut­san orig­i­nated in south­ern and western Europe and is re­lated to or­na­men­tal hy­per­icums (St John’s wort).

Tut­san forms a semi-woody, 1.5 me­tre tall shrub with red­dish stems and small, pleas­ant-smelling, oval leaves.

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